How to deal with the refs
Each day the Arsenal History Society site puts up an article about an Arsenal player or Arsenal event that has an anniversary on the day in question. Today was the turn of Jérémie Aliadière to come under the microscope, and in preparing the piece I was reminded of the incident which could be seen as the first event that seriously called the refereeing of English football into question in the modern era.
The incident occurred when the player was given a red card for hitting Javier Mascherano on 23 February 2008. Mascherano had already raised his hand to Aliadiere right in front of the referee. Middlesbrough’s appeal was rejected by the FA and the ban increased to four games. This was so ludicrous that even Harry Redknapp at Tottenham complained, comparing this treatment with that of Michael Essien of Chelsea who had had an appeal upheld at the same time..
This article reminded me in turn that I have had a number of personal messages from people who don’t want to have their names mentioned here, but who are making suggestions as to what Arsenal might do about the situation concerning the referees in the Premier League.
My article “How Arsenal’s failure to act has caused the club problems” received over 140 comments (a significant number for Untold wherein the readership by and large is rather reticent), and so I guess that there is something of a feeling that a new way to explore, publicise and ultimately resolve the refereeing crisis in the Premier League, is needed now.
One set of suggestions that I rather liked went along these lines
Mr Wenger is known to have a good relationship with English team manager Hodgson, so might not Mr Wenger phone Mr Hodgson and discuss the following:
The current refereeing “spirit” (as Arsene Wenger has called it) is killing the English game. It is years behind the way the game is being refereed internationally and in Europe, and as long as it continues in this vein the English national teams will suffer.
Furthermore talent like that of Wilshere, Walcott, Ox-Chamb, etc and many others (not only at Arsenal) will have short and injury riddled careers, and will never develop as they should and the English game will not develop.
Mr Wenger might also find it useful to send to Mr Hodgson a DVD of some of the Aston Villa game incidents.
Furthermore it is suggested that Mr Wenger asks Mr Hodgson to speak to the PGMO and express his concern. As was pointed out in response to the earlier article if Mr Wenger raises the issue he is instantly branded a “whinger” or words to that effect, and the media will claim that Arsenal only complain because they have more players sent off than any other team.
That statistic is of course not true (although it never stopped the “50 red cards under Wenger” anti-Arsenal campaign that the press ran during the earlier days of the reign. The numbers quoted were never true – as can be verified by the fact that the press always refused to compare Arsenal’s numbers with anyone else’s.)
Now our number of reds and yellows is high, but the behaviour of Arsenal players is not the cause. Yet Mr Wenger cannot raise this in the media or direct with the PGMO. So Mr Hodgson (who has weight in these matters) might be able to help.
I think it is also noticeable that since the infamous incident in which Mr Wenger was sent off for kicking a water bottle at Old Trafford, the way Arsenal are treated has become slightly more sophisticated (although the Villa game was a ludicrous example of desperate reversion to earlier tactics).
Contrary to popular belief I don’t actually have Arsene Wenger’s private mobile number, so I can’t drop the word directly, but I am given to understand that one or two people in the club is aware of Untold, so maybe the idea will get through that way.
At least against Fulham things seemed better, although the farcical attempt by BT Sprout (as Sid suggested we should call them yesterday) to “ask the ref” who always says that the ref on the pitch was always right, it clearly a ploy to tell us that everything is ok, and that it is just Arsenal making a fuss again.
So I pass the idea on. Any others are welcome. The complete and ever growing Arsenal Anniversary file is here, in case you want to check.
- Fulham 1 – Arsenal 3: no midweek hangover
- BT Sprot desperate for Arsenal not to score a fourth
- A trip down the River, a game at the Cottage, a pm in the pub
- There is a very strong chance that Spain’s financial crash will seriously injure football
- So, how would YOU handle Arsenal’s transfers, Chamakh and Flamini?
- A fine display of team work and work ethics, more of this please